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KU Bond Project Draws Sanctions from Kansas Lawmakers

Gateway entrance to the University of Kansas in Lawrence (Photo by J. Schafer)

The full Kansas House could debate a budget bill this week, which includes a provision aimed at punishing the University of Kansas. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, some lawmakers are unhappy with how KU funded a $300 million building project.

KU formed a public-private partnership to issue bonds, and they did it in a way that didn’t require the approval of Kansas lawmakers. That angered some legislators like Republican Representative Marc Rhoades. He offered an amendment to the budget that would restrict how KU spends some of its money. Rhoades says the goal is getting the attention of KU and other schools.

“This is just saying we want to put a tie hold on that and we want you to come to us for everything, not just the bonding, but if it’s appropriate. They went outside the authority of the Kansas Legislature to get that $300 plus million,” says Rhoades.
KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, Tim Caboni, says lawmakers have urged universities to find ways to finance projects without state dollars, and that’s exactly what they did. He says this sends a message that Kansas isn’t open to business development.


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